When we consider the topic of UX improvement we should also understand where in the lifecycle of the application we operate.
User Experience Lifecycle
The lifecycle of user experience follows the lifecycle of application software. The classical model remains valid:
1. PLAN: Business Strategy > IT Strategy > SAP Strategy > UX Strategy > SAP (incl. UX) Roadmap with software selection.
During this first stage UX is particularly relevant when it comes to ‘Software Selection’. Business requirements require you to translate and execute in accordance with your strategy. This may or may not result in SAP being selected as the recommended software.
2. BUILD: Design/Blueprint > Realise / Configure > Prepare for Go-Live / Test > Go-Live / Deploy
During this stage you have the opportunity to consider the UX of the applications in scope. The process is similar to that described in RUN below apart from that it needs to integrate into your Implementation Plan with multiple integration points.
3. RUN: Operate and Support the application; Upgrades / Patches; UX Improvements
During the operate stage of applications you plan updates/patches and upgrades to maintain the applications. The key opportunities during this stage are functional improvements and user experience improvements,
In this context, SAP developed an improvement framework for UX based on an SAP estate in operate mode.
SAP UX Improvement Framework
The improvement framework is divided into 4 phases:
1. Understand & Learn
This phase focuses on 2 components that drive the major outcome of establishing a customer UX Strategy. Understanding is based on gaining knowledge and insight on multiple topics, specifically SAP information such as our UX Strategy as well as customer strategy details. Knowledge of the respective sides helps SAP and our customer to formulate an initial customer UX strategy.
There is no substitute for practical experience of SAP UX solution components in the customer landscape. This experience validates the principles, values and limitations of User Experience and takes the initial UX Strategy and turns this into a final customer UX Strategy. Note that the UX Strategy document should be considered a living document and updated on the cyclical basis.
2. Discover & Plan
Now we need to execute on strategy. The key questions to answer are what should we improve to gain what value, for which user, and with which solutions do we achieve it?
To answer these questions SAP developed the UX Roadmap methodology that (a) Discover the priority transactions, appropriate end users, UX pain points, and Landscape components; (b) Assess the options and make solution recommendations; (c) Develop an outline business case for each solution and submit for approval; and (d) create the SAP UX Roadmap by integrating all UX and UI components in line with the customer SAP Roadmap.
3. Realise & Measure
During this stage we plan and execute the SAP UX Roadmap. This involved technical activities as well as design and build activities for each solution component. Part of this plan also involves planning for user coherence based on the recommended UI clients and theming. The ultimate outcome of this stage is the delivery of UX improvements to end user groups and measuring the effectiveness of these improvements.
Improving the User experience of SAP will not be a one-off activity for most of our customers. It is better to view UX Improvements in the same light as you view application and landscape maintenance. The key question is always to seek business value.
The ability to execute this approach requires a capability from our customer to work across the UX lifecycle. A capability from an organisational point of view is made up of people, processes, tools and governance. Lastly, design also requires the appropriate space. The outcome of this stage is to establish User Experience as both a capability as well as embed it into your organisation culture.